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HHH Policy Fellows, Students Speak Out project

HHH Policy Fellows, Students Speak Out project



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    Education+Group+Final+Presentation+070601 Education+Group+Final+Presentation+070601 Presentation Transcript

    • Why Are Students Leaving Minneapolis Public Schools?: Students’ Perspectives June 1, 2007 Charissa Bryant Nichelle DeCora Abdulla Hared Traci Parmenter Karen Peterson Diane Tran
    • Education Group Agenda
      • Overview
      • Description of Work
      • Project Outcomes
      • Process Outcomes
      • Summary
    • Overview MPS Enrollment
      • MPS enrollment has declined 23% in the last five years
      • 41% of enrollment decline can be accounted for by population decline
      • The remaining 59% is due to MPS-eligible students choosing to attend other school options
      Source: Hazel Reinhardt, “Demographic and K-12 Enrollment Report,” Minneapolis Public Schools, February 2006 MPS Enrollment Changes, 2001-2006 Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) enrollment is declining faster than the rate of population decline 47,234 -4,433 -4,600 -1,450 -646 +323 36,428
    • Overview Public Discussion of Causes But the voices of students have not been heard in the debate about how to stop the decline in enrollment “ I’ve said burn North High School down! I can’t be paying as a taxpayer for the education of my neighbors and 72 percent of them are failing—meaning black boys .”—Don Samuels, Minneapolis City Councilman, Mpls St. Paul Magazine, February 2007 “ I am skeptical because I believe that parents are the ones who make decisions about where kids go to school. Not kids. And if the parents are not involved enough to know what’s best for their kids when they’re entering high school, shouldn’t energies be focused on parent education and engagement rather than on placing such a responsibility on kids.”—Minneapolis Parents Forum, Yahoo! Groups There has been extensive public discussion about the causes of declining MPS enrollment
    • Overview Our Project
      • In order to promote and support student involvement in the public debate, we:
        • Create an interactive Web site (studentsspeakout.ning.com)
        • Developed seed content for the site
        • Drove student traffic to the site
        • Encouraged interested adults to listen to student voices
      We partnered with Citizens League to create an interactive Web site called Students Speak Out where students can voice their opinions about enrollment decline
    • Overview Outcomes to Date Students Speak Out is still in its early stages; the continued involvement of Citizens League will allow it to grow further over time Content Created Site Usage
      • Blog postings
      • Survey of students opinions about their schools
      • Video and audio from student focus groups
      • Transcripts from one-on-one interviews
      • MPS enrollment fact sheet
      • Site went live in April 2007
      • 7,000 page views to date
      • Survey taken by 65 students
    • Education Group Agenda
      • Overview
      • Description of Work
      • Project Outcomes
      • Process Outcomes
      • Summary
    • Description of Work Time Line Much of our early work was spent interviewing people on our Power Map and refining our topic; our topic changed over the course of the project Broad topic: any type of education issue facing any Somali immigrants Interviews with people on our rapidly expanding Power Map narrowed focus to education issues facing Somali high-school students Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels ignites debate over MPS enrollment decline Refocused project on MPS enrollment Teamed with Citizens League and carried out most tasks October November December January February March April May
    • Description of Work Initial Power Map ISAIAH Minnesota Council of Churches Gary Miller Somali Family Services of MN Somali Confederation Family and Children’s Service Hennepin County Volunteers of America (Justin Testerman) Kathy Fennelly Cedar Riverside group (Andie Martinez) Power of You (Dean Karen Hynick at MCTC) UBAH charter school (Scott Fleming) Jane Addams School (Derek Johnson St. Paul School Board (Toni Carter) Admission Possible students AFFIRM coalition (Susie Brown) Mosque leaders High Ground Academy Our initial Power Map included a wide range of people in the education and Somali immigrant communities Somali Immigrant Education
    • Description of Work Final Power Map Our final Power Map included many more names than our initial map, and also included connections between people
    • Education Group Agenda
      • Overview
      • Description of Work
      • Project Outcomes
      • Process Outcomes
      • Summary
    • Project Outcomes Survey Data To date 65 high-school-age students have taken our survey; of those, 36 live in Minneapolis; and of those, 20 attend MPS
    • Project Outcomes Survey Data Why did you choose your current school instead of another one?
    • Project Outcomes Survey Data If you could change anything about your school, what would you change? “ The disorganization and lack of communication between the administration and the students.” “ The way the food tastes.” “ Instead of softball I’d have football .” “ More diversity, like more white people.” “ Decrease the drug use .” “ More electives, more interactive learning.” “ The hours, because I want to get out earlier!” “ More advanced courses and more extracurricular activities.” “ Too many rules .” “ More languages , more music .”
    • Project Outcomes Forum Postings “ Enrollment is declining because enough parents, students, and teachers are realizing what “average” schools the Minneapolis Public Schools are becoming. Minneapolis families will not stand for it. We want better education and will leave the local schools to get it. Good education is very important, and Minneapolis is lacking that right now.”—Brett Campbell, 8 th grade, Avalon Charter School “ Enrollment is declining because funding is declining. Simple as that. The district is cutting schools and cutting funds and it makes a lot of students feel that the district no longer believes in them.“—Gayle Smaller, Jr., 12 th grade, Patrick Henry High School “ Students have lost interest in education, students have obligations to uphold or see other things as more important than school, and students are afraid of getting picked on .”—Arda Thao, junior, Roosevelt High School “ The atmosphere at South High was one of apathy and disgust. People dropped out because they were at the point of just hating everything about school from teachers to building to peers to themselves. It didn't feel like I would get anything more out of graduating than dropping out; all that really mattered was the standardized testing anyway.”—Claire Seavey, junior, Perpich Center for Arts Education “ People don't want to stay in school because they don't think they have any reason to .—Wes Granath, 8th grade, Lake Harriet Community School
    • Project Outcomes North High Focus Groups
      • Issues identified by North High School student focus groups:
      • Negative stereotypes of North High exaggerate its problems
      • Continued scrutiny of the school by outsiders keeps spotlight on problems rather than positive things like the breadth of programs and opportunities
      • Students aren’t asked for their opinions, and it’s important that their voices be heard
      • Teachers’ relationships with students and expectations of them seem to vary by program and by individual
      • Too many teachers expect students to work the majority of class time on their own
      • Students would like to spend more time learning about things that would help them in their lives, rather than on games and other information that they don’t see as meaningfully connected to the real world
      • Students want parents and teachers to be encouraging and supporting, but don’t want to be lectured at and cussed out
      • Students believed that drop-outs were due to pregnancy, drugs, and lack of ambition, and that many drop-outs come from bad homes with unsupportive parents
      • North social groups are quite racially segregated
      • Classes are too big, which makes behavioral problems overwhelming for teachers
    • Project Outcomes Site Tour
    • Project Outcomes Successes
      • We generated a considerable amount of student-driven opinion on the site and elsewhere
      • We believe the student voices have gained the attention of interested adults, based on feedback from parents and school administrators
      • Citizens League involvement means that awareness of Students Speak Out is likely to continue to grow, and that student-generated content will grow with it
    • Project Outcomes Challenges
      • While it’s relatively easy to put up a Web site, it can take time and considerable effort to develop enough content to make people want to visit the site, return to it, and tell their friends about it
      • We struggled to find the balance between the need to develop the seed content necessary to let the site go live and our desire to support student-generated content
    • Education Group Agenda
      • Overview
      • Description of Work
      • Project Outcomes
      • Process Outcomes
      • Summary
    • Process Outcomes Successes
      • Despite a slow start, we did manage to complete a meaningful project within the time frame of the Policy Fellows program
      • Our partnership with Citizens League gave us access to resources that helped make the project successful
      • Our group’s flexibility and ability to respond to the outside environment allowed us to contribute to a significant community issue as it unfolded
    • Process Outcomes Challenges
      • We struggled to narrow down a very broad topic into a manageable project, and got a late start working on the content of our project
      • All team members had family, work, and other commitments that sometimes made it difficult to find time for the project
      • Our partnership with Citizens League expanded the team and exacerbated our difficulties communicating and aligning our goals and expectations
    • Education Group Agenda
      • Overview
      • Description of Work
      • Project Outcomes
      • Process Outcomes
      • Summary